Abgenix, Inc. begins operations in Fremont, California as a subsidiary of Cell Genesys. C. Geoffrey Davis is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer; R. Scott Greer is the Chief Executive Officer. Abgenix undertakes research on immunotherapies for wide range of maladies including autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, and transplant rejection, but its big breakthrough is made in antibody production technology. Abgenix, Inc. has managed to “invented” XenoMouse, a genetically engineered mouse as a fruit of $40 million research and development effort and it took seven years to see the initial result.
However, while it has not yet reached the market, this product helped the company to source nearly $3 billion from market capitalization in March 2000. This unique strain of transgenic mouse are capable of producing antibodies potentially useful in the treatment of human disorders including cancer, transplant rejection and inflammation. The antibody produced in XenoMouse was the second major technology besides recombinant DNA technology that was used to produce human insulin. The company is “well positioned to ride the antibody wave”, as described by R.
Scott Greer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Abgenix, in April 2000. There were series of private placements and follow-on public offerings of stock, raising over $600 million. The new technologies of generating antibodies from mice were capable of producing therapies that were believed to be more effective and well tolerated by humans, as contrast to small molecule competitors. As research in many fields had identified thousands of possible disease targets for antibody therapy, major pharmaceutical and biotech companies expressed their interest and many had licensed access to XenoMouse.